New GPs finally making their way to Katanning

Jessica CuthbertAlbany Advertiser
Member for Roe Peter Rundle
Camera IconMember for Roe Peter Rundle

New general practitioners are expected to be working out of Katanning in coming weeks, addressing doctor shortages in the town.

Rural Health West said two GPs were set to start work and several other doctors were being case managed through the recruitment process.

Chief executive officer Tim Shackleton said the organisation was aware of the doctor shortage in Katanning and had been pushing to fill the gaps.

“A few long-term doctors left Katanning last year, so we have been working to replace them with general practitioners, who can also provide hospital coverage in additional to working in community practice,” he said.

“Recruiting doctors can take 12 to 18 months and we are speaking with a number of suitable doctors about the opportunities available in Katanning.

“We have one doctor ready to start work in town in the next few weeks and another doctor in the final stages of recruitment who we hope will be available to start in July or August.”

Mr Shackleton said Rural Health West staff were liaising with the WA Country Health Service to increase medical coverage before the new doctors arrive.

Member for Roe Peter Rundle said having new GPs in Katanning was an excellent outcome.

“It’s great to see they (Rural Health West) are doing everything they can to address this issue, I thank them for their efforts,” he said.

“My current concerns are the congruity of staffing of doctors in the emergency department. People going into emergency expect to see a doctor on site and not be turned away to Narrogin or Albany.”

Mr Rundle recently asked Health Minister Roger Cook if he was aware of the lack of doctors at Katanning Hospital and what steps were being taken to alleviate community concerns.

Mr Cook said he shared the town’s concerns.

“Emergency departments in hospitals like Katanning Hospital rely on GPs to fill out the roster and to make sure that there is a complete roster for the 24/7 emergency service being provided,” he said.

“I am concerned about the reports that we have both received about gaps in the roster and about people being referred elsewhere, this is a vexing issue.”

Mr Rundle said he received a similar response in Parliament last year. “I really would like to see it addressed, not just be given a generic response; that’s the reason I bought it up again to alert them to the issue,” he said.

“The issue hasn’t gone away — if anything it has gotten worse.”

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